Families help Garfield high school students plan prom after classmate’s shooting death

Following the fatal shooting of a first grader, all of the supplies for the school’s prom failed to show up. Today, the community is significantly involved.

SEATTLE — As students and staff at Garfield High School mourn the loss of junior Amarr Murphy-Paine who was shot and killed in front of the school Thursday, other community members are trying to help the seniors from Garfield High School to have another memorable night for their prom on Saturday.

On top of dealing with the loss of Amarr, all of the supplies for the school prom failed to show up. Today, the community is stepping up in a big way to help seniors have a memorable prom night.

Saturday morning at Garfield High School, several people visited a memorial set up on the stairs where Amarr was killed.

“The people who witnessed it are so traumatized,” said Linnea Johnson, the school’s student body vice president. “They will probably never forget what they saw and what happened.”

Johnson said shootings have started to become almost normal for Garfield high school students, even though they are usually not fatal.

“There’s maybe four this year, which is insane,” Johnson said of the shootings in and around his school.

With tragedy looming over the school, seniors like Johnson are set to have their prom Saturday night.

“This tragedy happened and it’s hard to act like everything is normal and have fun and be happy when one of our classmates just died,” Johnson said.

To add to the challenges the school faces, prom supplies were supposed to be delivered Thursday, but due to the shooting at the time of delivery, they went back to the warehouse, leaving the seniors with nothing for prom.

“I was like, so we won’t have any decorations, we won’t have any food, and that’s it,” Johnson said.

But that’s when the school’s PTSA sprang into action.

“I got a call from the athletic director here at the school and she said, I need help from the PTSA, and we’re like, we got you.” said Garfield High School PTSA co-president Alicia Spanswick.

Spanswick had a carload of supplies Saturday morning for the prom, but many more are expected to be dropped off at the prom venue later Saturday evening.

She didn’t know Amarr personally and wanted to ease the stress on students and teachers who knew him. So she posted a message on Facebook asking the community for supplies and support for the Garfield High School prom.

“The support we have received is just overwhelming,” Spanswick said.

The community responded in a big way, with several groups, businesses and individuals pledging to help make prom the best it could be for students.

“A restaurant down the street is bringing 15 pizzas, we have parents from Roosevelt, who just had their prom last weekend, they are bringing extra materials for a balloon arch and banner” , Spanswick said.

Seniors like Johnson are now hopeful for their prom night, but her biggest hope is a more secure future for returning Garfield students.

“I feel so sad for them, but I hope that finally things will start to change,” Johnson said.

Community members and parents also rallied to accompany the prom, because originally many teachers were responsible for accompanying students and parents in the community did not want them assume this responsibility.

Any leftover snacks or decorations from the prom will be brought to the school Tuesday, the first day students are back since the shooting.

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